July 9, 2019

Wendy Watson named COO of Kaiser Permanente Northwest

New chief operating officer is focused on advancing community integration and whole-person health.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Wendy Watson, who has been named chief operating officer for Kaiser Permanente Northwest, is extending integrated health care outside clinical walls into the community and opening new ways for members to connect with our doctors.

“We are redesigning Kaiser Permanente operations,” Watson said. “We are moving deeper into whole-person care, fully integrating behavioral health, connecting with community partners to more effectively coordinate care, and removing barriers to an easy and convenient care experience.” 

Watson recently created a population health department combining home and assisted living care, inpatient and outpatient care management, social work, health education, and care navigators with a focus on identifying and serving patients who need more than is typically provided in a clinical office. She is also advancing use of video appointments, online chat, and other ways to conveniently support health.

Since joining Kaiser Permanente in 1993, Watson has had numerous promotions and elevated assignments. She was vice president for Ambulatory Care and Clinical Support Services before being named interim COO in December 2018.

As COO, she leads all clinical operations, which encompasses 36 medical offices, 20 dental offices and 2 hospitals. Kaiser Permanente Northwest has 626,167 medical members, 291,512 dental members, more than $4.3 billion annual revenue, and more than 12,100 employees.

“Wendy is a respected, inclusive, and engaged leader,” said Ruth Williams-Brinkley, regional president for Kaiser Permanente in the Northwest. “Her deep, 26-year experience with Kaiser Permanente and unwavering commitment to our mission are tremendous assets to the region’s senior leadership team and the employees within her organization.”

Watson holds a master’s degree in public health from Portland State University and is certified in Lean Six Sigma process improvement methodologies. She also completed an advanced fellowship with the Health Care Advisory Board in Washington, D.C., and is a Baldrige Executive Fellow.

She serves as board chair for Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest Portland Committee, a key community partner with Kaiser Permanente Northwest. Watson lives a very active life outside of work where she enjoys running marathons, hiking, traveling, and spending quality time with her family.


About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.3 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. 


Michael Foley